Council boss handling Perth flooding fallout takes early retirement

A senior council boss handling the fallout from last year’s flooding devastation in Perth has taken early retirement.

Barbara Renton, who heads up the local authority’s housing and environment department, decided to step down last summer.

It’s understood she will leave her post in March as Perth and Kinross Council looks to streamline the number of top executives in a major restructuring.

Sources said the departure of Ms Renton, who has worked for the local authority for 34 years, is a “huge loss” and she will be greatly missed by colleagues.

‘Dedicated public servant’

The veteran council executive also served as the local authority’s interim chief during the Covid pandemic.

Current chief executive Thomas Glen offered his “hearty thanks” to Ms Renton for her work as a “dedicated public servant”.

Perth and Kinross council chief executive Thomas Glen. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

He said: “As part of our extensive transformation and change programme we have undertaken a review of our senior leadership structure.

“This reduces the number of senior posts overall as well as reshaping the roles of senior managers.

“As part of this process, a number of colleagues, including Barbara, applied for early retirement, and this was agreed by committee last July.”

He added: “We will pay tribute to each of the departing colleagues as time gets nearer, and our hearty thanks for Barbara’s 34 years as a dedicated public servant working for the people of Perth and Kinross will of course be a large part of this.”

Ms Renton came under scrutiny in October as a result of the council’s response to a major flooding fiasco following extreme weather.

The North Inch flooded.
Flooding at the North Inch after a gate was left open. Image: Roben Antoniewicz

The local authority failed to close the North Inch floodgates in time following heavy rainfall, which led to homes and properties being engulfed with water.

Ms Renton angered residents after appearing to shift the blame onto the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

Council bosses cited late information for leaving the floodgates open, even though a weather warning had been in place for two days.

The local authority apologised and a probe is now underway into why the floodgates had not been closed to help avoid devastation.

Council talks

Ms Renton answered questions from councillors at a scrutiny committee meeting on Monday afternoon at Perth Chamber where the October’s flood events were on the agenda.

At the meeting, she confirmed the council is in discussions with Scottish Water, Sepa and SSE about the events.

She said: “Invites have gone out to all three of these organisations with the dates of future scrutiny and performance meetings.

“I’ve had feedback from Scottish Water that due to internal changes it won’t be until the September meeting.

“It was an invite, we cannot make these bodies come. They are very keen to come to the committee.”

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